Before I begin with the main topic today, I thought I’d just mention something rather exciting… I was checking around the internetz to see if our single was cropping up in any of the major digital stores and I found this. At which point I began whisper-screaming (as I call it) and flailing my hands around. Unfortunately no one following the Project was online for me to share my screaming fit with, so I just had to sit there freaking out on my own.
But it’s there! Right there, internationally might I add, on Amazon and ready for release on Friday! Gaze upon its beauty!
So, back to the topic of disco.
Before my love affair with J-pop, and in the order of things J-trace (or Jaylectro, as I tend to call it), I was most definitely into my soul, Motown and disco. Anything with a decent beat, sparkling tambourines, offbeat hihats, funky cowbell and of course a rambunctious bass line. Earth Wind and Fire, The Pointer Sisters, The Jackson 5 – it’s impossible to be sad when listening to music this groovy.
As with probably every style of music, there is the old form and the modern equivalent. Rock ‘n’ roll became progressive. Old R&B grew into that bizarre diva-driven dance-pop that we have today. And disco has been electrified.
I remember hearing Daft Punk on the radio when I was about 14. I wasn’t terribly into dance at the time as I found it to be overly repetitive (oh, I was so young!), but these guys seemed to have kept hold of many of the things I loved about 70’s disco. Kick drum was the biggest instrument now, bass though still as groovy took a back seat, but the way they used samples of brass sections and the like was addictive. And who could get enough of that vocoder voice? Hah, back then at least…
By the time I was studying on my degree I was primed for a new experience with music. I learned about the birth of electronic music in the 1950s with the use of reel-to-reel tape recorders by 20th century avant-garde composers. One time I heard Steve Reich say in an interview something along the lines of, “electronic music is the folk music of this generation,” because it had become so accessible. We’re no longer noodling away on our lutes and fiddles, but rather with the advent of affordable music software, we’re plugging bits of information into graphic grids and boxes, crafting waveforms visually.
So this brings me ever so neatly onto the concept of disco in the Japanese market. After my initial, gentle introduction into J-pop with the somewhat westernised stylings of Utada Hikaru, I found myself on Jpopasia.com searching for other tasty morsels and came across Macaroni by Perfume. I was reminded of Daft Punk and fell in love.
I quickly discovered the mastermind behind this sound was one Nakata Yasutaka. His style dominates the electronic music scene in Japan, and the guy’s only just in his thirties. People are falling over each other to get him to work on their albums, and if they can’t manage that they find some other producer to clone his sound. He has pushed the genre with his use of aggressively processed vocals, tougher-sounding synths and unusual percussion noises. Earth Wind and Fire are positively tame next to this guy.
So, now I’ve waffled on about my journey into J-pop and my love of disco, what exactly am I trying to say about the Glitter Punch Project? (*snore* W…What? Oh, yeah. Please tell us, Caryl!)
Disco is our concept. Probably our main concept. We want our songs (if Matt disagrees this blog post is doomed) to have an irresistible combination of nostalgia and futurism. They’re cutting edge, and yet somehow approachable. And with our (now full-sized) album to be entitled Mirrorball Swing, it’s safe to say that disco feeling will feature heavily.